The Ultimate Guide to Building an Online Community Into Your Marketing Strategy

Building an online community continues to be hot right now in the online business world. New Facebook groups are popping up every day, offering a paid membership to your audience could be a great, scalable business move, and group coaching programs are helping coaches leverage their time and help more people.

Offline communities seem to be resurfacing too, as we get more and more addicted to our tech and crave more real-life human interaction. Meet-up groups, co-working groups, clubs, and live events are not losing their place, even in the online business world.

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Why? I think Seth Godin says it brilliantly in his bestseller Tribes*:

“Marketing used to be about advertising, and advertising is expensive. Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread.” 

But while you might see building a community as a way to scale your business, and you might even crave a sense of community for yourself, creating, building, and managing a community isn’t for everyone.

There are specific personality types that build, lead, and manage communities exceptionally well, while other personality types struggle.

Before building your own online community, make sure it’s the right for you.

Don’t know your Marketing Personality Type yet? Click here to find out!

What's your Marketing Personality Type? Find out here!

Here are the personality types that tend to lead and manage an online community exceptionally well, in their own unique ways:

ENTP, The Debater

As the Debater, you’re skilled at hosting discussions and Q&As, letting everyone speak whether they agree with you or not. You might consider hosting challenges within your community to bond members, catalyze action, and create loyal, lifetime fans.

INFP, The Mediator

As the Mediator, you often with a fire in your belly about what you’d like to change in the world and sometimes, you might feel willing to bring people together for that greater cause.

Watch out though – being exposed to lots of opinions on a subject you care about can be overwhelming so be sure to gather the right people and stand strong in your beliefs.

ENFJ, The Protagonist

As the Protagonist, your community could provide you a helpful platform to facilitate discussion and connect people. Use this platform to host talks and guide your community members to the next step.

Watch out though – your members don’t want to be preached to. Keep your talks conversational.

ENFP, The Campaigner

As the Campaigner, you’re the master at hosting and mentoring. You’re best at welcoming complete strangers into your space and having them leave as friends. You make them feel at home, while still inspiring and empowering them to go out and take action in the world.

ISFJ, The Defender

As the Defender, you’re the true Mama Bear, great at hosting a community where everyone is expected to support everyone. They not only lean on you, they also lean on each other.

Watch out though – Excessive complaining and victim energy takes the wind out of your sails. Be sure to curate people like you who are natural supporters.

ESTJ, The Executive

As the Executive, your best move will be to create a community for your affiliates and/or brand ambassadors. This will give them the opportunity to commune together and stay on the same page with you.

Watch out though – you might not appreciate everyone’s opinions coming at you all at once. You might consider having an ENTP co-host to keep everyone in line, while still feeling heard.

ESFJ, The Consul

As the Consul, you’re often the fun friend, great at bringing friends together and creating enjoyable experiences within community. If building an online community, consider how you might catalyze your members to grow friendships and community outside of their computer screens.

ISFP, The Adventurer

As the Adventurer, you might create a community to give your potential client a taste of what you do and how you do it so the community member can “try before they buy.” Use your community as a stepping stone from potential client to paying client.

Watch out though – hosting a community may feel like a lot of responsibility. Set boundaries early and often so it doesn’t drain your energy.

Now that you know which personality types are exceptional at creating community, answer this:

Is building a community the right move for you?

If it is, keep on reading!n

If you don’t see your personality type in the list above…

… creating a community might not be the best move for you.

If you still want to incorporate a community into your business model and marketing strategy, consider bringing a Co-Host, Assistant, or “Integrator” onto your team that has the community-builder personality type that best suits your community’s needs.

Now I’m going to show you the five necessary tenants you’ll need to create an online community and have it thrive.

How to Create an Online Community Workbook from, FREE marketing workbook, ENTP INFP ENFJ ENFP ISFJ ESTJ ESFJ ISFP

Download this helpful workbook that will guide you through these five tenants as you read and answer its questions.

Then I’ll show you how your community fits into your marketing strategy so it benefits your business AND how to grow your community for maximum impact in this 1-hour training – How Community Fits Into Your Marketing Strategy. More on that in a minute.

*This post may contain affiliate/referral links. It is a way for this site to earn advertising fees by advertising or linking to certain products and/or services.

So first, your community needs these 5 things…

According to Seth Godin in his New York Times, BusinessWeek, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Tribes*:

  1. Your community needs a Leader. That’s you. For any community to form, it needs a leader to curate its members, bringing them together for a distinct purpose. You will need to take on that leadership role for your community to take shape.

    If “leadership” feels out of your comfort zone right now, I suggest you tap into these resources to develop that leadership muscle inside of you:

    Tribes by Seth Godin*
    “Tribes will make you think—really think—about the opportunities to mobilize an audience that are already at your fingertips. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you think.”

    Dare to Lead by Brene Brown*
    Now, based on new research conducted with leaders, change makers, and culture shifters, [Brene]’s showing us how to put those ideas into practice so we can step up and lead.

    Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek*
    Too many workplaces are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best ones foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a ‘Circle of Safety’ that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.”

    Ashley Cox, Leadership Coach at
    Ashley Cox, PHR, SHRM-CP, is the Leadership Development Expert and Founder of SproutHR, where she helps female founders foster the skills you need to lead happy and high-functioning teams that consistently produce great results. She has over 12 years of leadership and human resources experience in both the corporate and small business worlds, was chosen as a 40 Under 40 recipient in 2017, and is passionate about helping women become more confident, effective and impactful leaders.
  2. Your community needs a Vision for the Future. As Seth Godin says in Tribes*, “The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.

    So, where are you going? Why does this community need to exist in the first place?
    Make sure your answer to that question is NOT about money. Money only motivates you so far.

    What’s the “big idea” here? What are you rallying your troops for?

    Remember, there’s a workbook right here where you can answer these questions in. Totally free, I don’t even ask for your email address.

    If you’re struggling to identify WHY your community will exist, I highly recommend reading this article, Community Building 101: The Basics, written by Amol Sarva, published by The Huffington Post. In it, Amol offers a list of reasons your community might exist. Which one resonates most with you and the work you’re doing?

    Once you do identify your vision of the future, be sure to illustrate it through stories, as opposed to theoretical logistics. Really paint the picture for your members so they can see themselves within that future world.  
  3. Your community needs a Set of Values. As you’re leading your members toward the vision you’ve set before them, you and your members will need to know their boundaries on how to get there. To set boundaries, define what you and your community value.

    Without values, and therefore, without boundaries, you might reach your future vision in a way that’s out of alignment with how you wanted to do business, achieve goals, and leave a legacy. This could severely stain the impact your community ultimately has on the world.

    To define your community’s values, I encourage you to work through the list of common values included in the workbook. Choose 3-5 words that get to the core of how you’d like to achieve the vision you’ve set. Start by highlighting all the words that resonate strongly with you. Then work through that list, throwing out any words that don’t seem to truly convey what you’re doing and why your community exists until you get the list down to 3-5 words.

    Then, put these words into play. Be sure your community members know the community’s values, uphold them yourself, and praise members who uphold them too.  
  4. Your community needs a Way to Connect. This one seems pretty obvious, but take a close look. As you’re starting your community, make sure your community is gathering in a place that first, feels safe for you, and second, will feel safe for them.

    Consider the best possible setting for your members to join together. Is it online or offline? In a large group or small group? On a public forum or a private one? Within a social media platform like Facebook or outside of one?

    Remember to choose the setting based on your preferences first. This might seem “selfish” at first glance, but remember, if you’re not comfortable within your community, your members won’t be either and then, ultimately, you won’t have a community.  
  5. Your community needs an Activity to Participate In. It’s one thing to be a member of a group. It’s a completely different thing to be an ACTIVE member of a group. Right? Think about the Facebook groups you’re a part of that you chime in and engage in regularly and the ones you’ve joined but never say a word in. Big difference.

    For a community to be healthy and progressing toward that future vision, action needs to take place.

    So, answer this – How does a potential member first become a member of your community? What do they have to do to earn a spot within your circle?

    And then what does this member have to do to be an ideal, active member? What are the actions the member needs to take?

    And finally, perhaps the most important question of all – what do YOU need to do, as the Leader, to catalyze the member into taking those specific actions?

Now that you’ve gotten a start on building your community, it’s now time to understand how your community fits into your marketing strategy.

Remember what Seth Godin says in Tribes*,

Marketing used to be about advertising, and advertising is expensive. Today, marketing is about engaging with the tribe and delivering products and services with stories that spread.

I show you exactly HOW COMMUNITY FITS INTO YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY in this 1-hour training. 

And BONUS, I’ll also be sharing with you how to GROW your community for maximum impact. This bonus info might surprise you!


Would building an online community be beneficial to your business and mission? Find out here based on your Marketing Personality Type. This article will show you which personality types are best at creating and fostering an online community and steps to developing a holistic, easy-to-manage online community